Foundations of Environmental Physics


Foundations of Environmental Physics is designed to focus students on environmental problems facing modern society, global energy problems in particular, and to give them the critical thinking and computational skills needed to sort out potential solutions. From its pedagogical approach, students learn that a simple calculation based on first principles can often reveal the plausibility (or implausibility) of a proposed solution or new technology.

The text begins by exploring how changes in world population impact all aspects of the environment, particularly with respect to energy use. It then discusses what the first and second laws of thermodynamics tell us about renewable and nonrenewable energy; how current energy use is changing the global climate; and how alternative technologies can be evaluated through scientific risk assessment. In approaching real-world problems, students come to understand the physical principles that underlie scientific findings. The book includes a chapter on climate and human caused climate change and ends with a discussion of risk and economic factors impacting on decisions involving the use of technology.

This informative and engaging textbook offers what prospective scientists, managers, and policy makers need most: the knowledge to understand environmental threats and the skills to find solutions.


Foundations of Environmental Physics; Understanding Energy Use and Human Impacts

“Scientists are like mariners who have to rebuild their ship on the high seas, without ever being able to strip it down in dock and construct it afresh from the best available components.”   

             -- Otto Neurath